Biden says ‘no shift’ in commitment to Israel

President Biden said Friday there is “no shift” in his commitment to the security of Israel and reiterated his support for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

“There is no shift in my commitment to the security of Israel. Period. No shift,” Biden told reporters at a press conference following a meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

Biden was asked about his message to Democrats who want him to be more confrontational with Israel and those who are critical of a recent U.S. arms deal with Israel.

“The shift is we still need a two-state solution. It is the only answer,” the president said.

Biden said he is committed to helping rebuild infrastructure in Gaza that was devastated in the recent violence in a way that does not provide Hamas the opportunity to rebuild their weapons systems.

“They need the help and we’re going to get that done,” Biden said.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) confronted Biden earlier this week during a trip in Michigan for not doing enough to protect Palestinian lives in the conflict between Israel and Hamas and for supporting the Israeli government as it commits what she described as crimes against Palestinians.

Some progressives have also sought to block a $735 million weapons deal with Israel amid the 11-day hostilities between Israel and Hamas, which killed upwards of 200 people in Gaza and a dozen people in Israel.

Biden insisted Friday that his party “still supports Israel” and said it was critical that the region recognize Israel’s right to exist as an independent Jewish state.

Biden hailed the cease-fire that was brokered between Israel and Hamas in remarks at the White House on Thursday, after 11 days of rocket fire and airstrikes caused destruction and death in Israel and Gaza.

The White House has repeatedly affirmed Israel’s right to defend itself against attacks from Hamas and other terrorist organizations.

Biden, who held six calls with Netanyahu in the course of the violence, took a stronger tone in calls earlier this week, according to White House readouts, first backing a cease-fire and then telling the Israeli prime minister on Wednesday that he expected a “significant de-escalation” in the conflict that day on the path to a cease-fire.

When asked later about his relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Biden emphasized the importance of keeping their communications private, arguing that was what ultimately allowed his diplomatic efforts to be successful over the past 24 hours.

“One of the reasons why we were able to get the cease-fire in 11 days is I didn’t do what other people have done: I don’t talk about what I tell other people in private. I don’t talk about what we negotiate in private,” Biden said.

Biden noted that Netanyahu kept his commitment to adhere to a cease-fire, which was announced Thursday.

“I am praying this cease-fire holds,” Biden said.

Via The Hill